They Left Their Blood On The Ground: A Response
There is a “Catholic Heroes of the Faith” series that looks like it has just begun; it has an animated DVD about the martyrs, Perpetua and Felicity. I came across this as we were studying martyrs in my Classic Christian Spirituality class, and was fascinated by the fact that this story is supposed to be told to children. When we adults think about the martyrs, sometimes their gory deaths overshadow their deep and abiding faith. Rather than depict the details of the death, this DVD highlights the deep faith of the entire group, the unity of the church, and the fact that the faith and joy of martyrs’ deaths spread Christianity. Sure, the animation is not Disney quality, some parts are not fully true to the original story, and some of the quotes made my college students giggle. During the last 10-15 minutes of the half-hour DVD, however, the class’s silence and awe was palpable.
These people had no fear of death, but trusted in their God. Death is part of life, is not to be feared, and is the grace of God on humankind – God limited human years after the Fall. In the traditional Reformed ordo salutis, it’s part of salvation. What does avoiding this topic say to our kids? Certainly we must take care and be wise, but is it OUR fear of death that stops us, or is it really our concern for our kids? The martyrs did not fear death. They didn’t want the pain, but the bravely and joyfully faced it.